Chloe Leibowitz

Has lockdown raised your confidence or kicked it to the curb?

What has lockdown been like for you? It has been a strange time indeed, so many ups and downs, or the “coronacoaster” as our emotional whirlwind has been nicknamed.

Some people rushed off their feet with work, or for our treasured NHS, on the frontline, keeping us safe whilst risking their own lives. Others, at home, unable to work. Perhaps furloughed, or self-employed service businesses who can no longer meet with their clients. Not to mention the home schoolers – I’m not envious, and very glad I have older teens who could most definitely teach me a thing or two, rather than the other way around!!

Have you been able to find positives in your lockdown situation as time has gone alone, or has it been more of a challenge and you’ve found yourself in a bit of a slump? Some of us have realised just how lucky we are to live where we live. In lovely homes, with gardens, and perhaps nature to explore on our doorsteps. I’m very grateful to be in that position, and not in the city with no green to be seen.

I, and I know many others, have found it a great time to take stock. To look at the enormous and sudden change in our lifestyles, and work out how we want things to be, or perhaps change, when we get back to “normal”. More “balance” is something I hear a lot at the time, and I will visit that subject in another blog post.

But for now, has lockdown made any dents in your confidence? Or has it boosted you up? In my ongoing life coaching work with clients, I have noticed a whole range of changes in confidence and mindset. The inability to do a lot of the things they usually do, and the need to step up and do things they don’t usually do, has gone one of two ways.

For some, they’ve noticed a resilience, they’ve diversified because they’ve had to. What they usually do to generate an income isn’t feasible right now. They’ve done things they never thought they would be doing, but they’re loving it. The result? Increased confidence. A stronger sense of themselves, and a pride in having risen to the challenge and seen some success.

I think this is also true when it comes to other pursuits. Those who have found a new fitness regime, or managed to get a handle on other wellbeing related areas of their life. Perhaps they’ve had time to dedicate to meal planning and prep, and as a result have achieved the weight loss they’ve been wanting for some time. Maybe, like me, they’ve found their way back to something like bike riding and it’s boosted their confidence in their ability to do things like this. Small things, but big results.

So equally, on the flip side, what happens when lockdown has made a negative impact? Has it made people more insular in terms of not going out and socialising or immersing themselves in work events? Has it shrunk our comfort zones?

Has your confidence reduced due to a lack of work or customers? Are you questioning your own processes and comparing yourself to others? Do you feel everyone else has managed to do the exercise / better eating habits / diversification, but you haven’t? Feel like there’s something wrong with you because you can’t bear the Zoom quiz on a Friday night?!

Always, in my coaching practise, I see struggles with confidence. It can take the tiniest thing to knock you right back down to a place of self doubt. And lockdown hasn’t been a tiny thing, in any way.

What can you do if lockdown has taken its toll on your confidence? And what can you do to lock in the newfound confidence if that’s where you’re at? Here are my suggestions:

  1. Be kind to yourself. Always. This is something many of us fail at. We find it so easy to be exceedingly kind to our friends. We’d never dream of speaking to them the way we speak to ourselves. How funny, because when we lack confidence, our own kindness is exactly what we need. The tendency, however, is to put ourselves down, be critical, and generally see the worst in everything we do. Sound familiar? Next time you catch yourself adding to plummeting confidence with criticism, stop. Ask yourself, what would I say to a friend, and treat yourself in that way instead.
  1. If it’s work related, and you can’t do anything about it right now, let it go. I’ve spoken to countless people now who are beating themselves up about work they cannot possibly be doing. They are also becoming very despondent and feeling like they won’t be able to go back to it either. We don’t know what the future holds, and all we can do for now is focus on what can happen right now. Let go of the fears and concerns that lower your energy and keep you in a negative state. The effect on your confidence is huge, and you’re doing damage that needn’t be done. For all we know, you will back to those things you love soon. If you can’t do anything about it, don’t stress.
  1. Accept that we are all different. We all have things we do and don’t want to do. And that’s ok. Stop beating yourself up about it! So for those who have learnt meditation, done daily yoga, read a book every week or learnt a language – well done you! If not, and if you’re quite happy going at your own speed and doing what you do – well done you! Don’t let comparison to others lower your confidence. It’s not a competition. If there are things you would like to do, and you’re not getting around to it, then it’s time to look at how you organise yourself and your day, and do things differently.
  1. Create a record of how you’re feeling now to build your confidence evidence! If things that have happened during lockdown have led to increased confidence for you, then make sure you acknowledge and record it. So often, a lack of confidence is based on false evidence. When you tell yourself you can’t do something, how often is it based on fact? Rarely. Often we are just telling ourselves we can’t do something, when in actual fact, it’s within our grasp – albeit perhaps a toe outside our comfort zone. So, remember these feelings of confidence, and lock in that experience.

So, you see, it’s interesting the way in which lockdown has affected confidence in a positive, or negative way. And it’s also possible for you to impact your own confidence. If you want to find out more about the work I do with my life coaching clients around confidence and self-belief, get in touch here. Do comment below if you’ve experienced any confidence boosts or knocks during lockdown.

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